I hear it constantly from all the so-called “Thought Leaders” out there: You have to network, you have to grow your friends list on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, you have to make YouTube videos and put yourself out there! Early to bed, early to rise, work you butt off and advertize! Don’t sell – add value; connect with more people and engage them, etc. And while I’m doing this on a regular basis because I do see the value of it, all I get bombarded with on Facebook, Google, Youtube, Twitter is ads, more ads, videos, and solicitations of all kinds. My inbox gets flooded with numerous ‘last chance for this exclusive offer’ emails. Let’s face it guys (and gals) – we live in constant sensory overload! As a result, like you, I just can’t wait to ‘Skip Ad’ on Youtube. We live in a completely insane and noisy world – especially if, like me, you’re trying to build a business and get heard among the numerous voices screaming in unison for some attention – for their share of the market.
But let’s be honest here: human beings were not made for this onslaught of lights, sounds, and images. We were made to connect with other, yes, but not with hundreds and thousands at a time – at least not on a regular basis. I mean, there are limits with our ability to connect effectively and meaningfully with people. When the numbers grow too big and the speed of our conversations is put in overdrive, we just cannot possibly connect at a deeper level – we just stay on the surface. We often are spreading ourselves too thin relationally by trying to respond to all the requests, pulls, conversations, posts, emails, etc. Slow and steady wins the race… right? Or maybe not anymore. But what does this all mean? Have we lost our humanity on the information superhighway? I think we may be falling for a for a trap set on our path by the enemy of our soul. To better explain, let me just share the following story with you:
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles, and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.”
“So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Said the devil, “This is what I want you to do: Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.
Satan answered, saying, “Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive–to keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home; and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-Biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”
“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotion offering free products, services, and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives.”
“Give them Santa to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they won’t talk about His resurrection and power over sin and death. Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences.”
Although this story was written before the explosion of Facebook ads, and Google Ads, and YouTube videos, it still explains where I’m going with this: We have fallen for the trap of business (being busy) through sensory overload set before us by our Enemy. When building an online business we can become so ensnared by its subtlety that we reason it away: “Well, I have to engage people through social media”, or “This is just the way to grow my business.” But what if you just do your best and leave the rest in God’s hands? This is the conclusion I have come to through the noise and the ad bombardment. You can’t be everywhere and connect with everyone and be seen by everybody. At some point you just have to say, “Well, that’s enough for now, I’ve done my part; the rest is in God’s hands.” There’s nothing wrong with building a strong online presence for your biz, but if it hurts your family time and you can never put your phone down, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities – even more so if it keeps you from connecting with the most important one of all: God. If you are too busy to pray and think on spiritual matters, you are just too busy and something is out of whack.
Just keep these verses in mind whenever you feel yourself going into sensory overload and losing your balance:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
May God bless you as you seek Him amidst the noise and the haste!